The Trump administration is cruelly jeopardizing the lives of immigrants who are in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The already life-threatening conditions of immigration detention have worsened during the COVID pandemic, and reckless deportations have spread the virus abroad.
The pandemic risks turning immigration detention into a death sentence for many, yet Trump has rejected calls for mass humanitarian release.
We must have community-based alternatives to immigration detention that are not driven by profit.
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Community-based and community-supported alternative programs have operated successfully throughout the world, including the U.S., where nonprofit organizations have stepped in to provide the legal orientation and social service supports asylum seekers and immigrants are not receiving from the government. Additionally, community-based alternatives to detention are often cheaper and have better outcomes, including lower recidivism rates.
We must demand Congress act now. We have to stop lining the pockets of private industries profiting from detention centers and create a humane system immediately.
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Every year, tens of thousands of people in Central America are forced to flee their homes. Gang violence, corruption, gender-based violence, and food insecurity are leaving some families with no other choice.
At the same time, the Trump administration has taken every imaginable action to try to keep asylum-seekers out, irrespective of whether it is legal, humane, effective, or consistent with our American values.
This is wrong. We all deserve to be treated equally and with dignity and compassion. Asylum-seekers are doing what generations of Americans have done—come to America full of aspirations to build better lives and give their children the chance to thrive.
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Women, children, and men who survived arduous journeys fleeing for their lives should be met with compassion and civility, not weapons and hostility. Until the situation in their home countries improve, many will continue to have no choice but to migrate in search of a safer and better life.
The US must invest the necessary resources to fulfill our legal obligations and hear the claims of asylum-seekers, as well as take steps to address the root causes of migration from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. They deserve a fair shot at their legal right to asylum.
That’s why Oxfam is asking Americans to demand all 2020 candidates rise to the moment and ensure that the United States lives up to our ideals. We need to address the root causes of forced migration from Central America. And we need to treat migrants and asylum-seekers with compassion, offer them help when they need it, and protect their rights.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Tucson sentenced former Arizona Border Patrol agent Matthew Bowen Wednesday to three years of supervised release and an $8,000 fine for intentionally running over a Guatemalan migrant with a pickup truck in 2017 — and then falsifying records about the assault. The man he struck, Antolin Rolando López-Aguilar, survived. Court filings show Bowen had sent a slew of racist text messages on his phone, referring to immigrants as “mindless murdering savages” and “beaners,” among other insults.
A top US immigration official has revised a quote inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in defence of a new policy that denies food aid to legal migrants.
The head of Citizenship and Immigration Services tweaked the passage: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.
The official added the words “who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge”.
It comes as Trump officials debuted a regulation that denies aid to migrants.
Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced on Monday a new “public charge” requirement that limits legal migrants from seeking certain public benefits such as public housing or food aid, or are considered likely to do so in the future.
On Tuesday, Mr Cuccinelli was asked by NPR whether the 1883 poem titled The New Colossus at the Statue of Liberty on New York’s Ellis Island still applied.
“Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’s words etched on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, give me your poor,’ are also a part of the American ethos?” asked NPR’s Rachel Martin.
“They certainly are,” Mr Cuccinelli responded. “Give me your tired and your poor – who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”
“That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge [law] was passed – very interesting timing,” he added.
The actual passage reads in part: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
In the interview, he added that immigrants are welcome “who can stand on their own two feet, be self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, again, as in the American tradition”.
After the host asked if the policy “appears to change the definition of the American dream,” he said: “We invite people to come here and join us as a privilege.
“No one has a right to become an American who isn’t born here as an American.”
Who will be affected by the new rule?
Immigrants who are already permanent residents in the US are unlikely to be affected by the rule change.
It also does not apply to refugees and asylum applicants.
But applicants for visa extensions, green cards or US citizenship will be subject to the change.
Those who do not meet income standards or who are deemed likely to rely on benefits such as Medicaid (government-run healthcare) or housing vouchers in future may be blocked from entering the country.
Those already in the US could also have their applications rejected.
An estimated 22 million legal residents in the US are without citizenship, and many of these are likely to be affected.
President Trump has made immigration a central theme of his administration. This latest move is part of his government’s efforts to curb legal immigration.
What has reaction been?
The Democratic led House Homeland Security Committee condemned Mr Cuccinelli’s revision in a tweet, calling the words “vile and un-American”.
“It’s clear the Trump Administration just wants to keep certain people out,” the committee wrote, calling Mr Cuccinelli “a xenophobic, anti-immigrant fringe figure who has no business being in government”.
Others pointed to his background as the attorney general of Virginia, in which he led a conservative campaign against immigration and homosexuality.
Asked about Mr Cuccinelli’s remarks on Tuesday, President Trump did not directly respond to the Statue of Liberty quote, but said: “I don’t think it’s fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States.”
“I’m tired of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things.
Immigration should be a safe and empowering choice.
Everyone should have the freedom to move and freedom to stay based on what is best for them to thrive. But from El Paso, TX, to towns across Mississippi, immigrant and Latino communities have been relentlessly attacked by Trump’s administration and right-wing assailants. Here’s how you can take action.
Text ENOUGH to 668366
Want to join the movement against white supremacist violence? Text ENOUGH to 668366 to sign on to denouncing white supremacist violence and demand action to curb guns. Msg & data rates may apply.
Call your member of Congress
Call your senators at 833-487-4445and demand they pass H.R.8, a gun violence reform package passed by the House this year. Live in D.C. or Puerto Rico and don’t have a Senator? Call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and demand he bring H.R.8 up for a vote.
Sign the petition: Tell Congress to Defund Hate
Sign the petition to tell Congress: Stop adding millions of dollars to Trump’s mass deportation machine which attacks immigrant families. Demand cuts in the budgets for detention beds, ICE and CBP agents, and border militarization.
Watch and share a video of the #ElPasoFirme vigils
Just days after the horrific attack in El Paso, MoveOn members joined dozens of vigils across the country to speak out against white supremacy and be in solidarity with immigrant and Latino communities. Will you watch and share this video to amplify the message of these powerful community events?
Go to town hall meetings and raise your voice
Go to town hall meetings while members of Congress are home for the August congressional recess to demand they condemn Trump’s hate and take action. You can find a list of public events hosted by senators via the Town Hall Project and Moms Demand Action, and you can find toolkits from the Giffords Legal Center and the Brady Campaign to help you prepare for events.
Register to vote
Elections are key moments to hold our elected officials accountable—and when those officials don’t pass legislation like mandatory background checks supported by 97% of Americans, they must be held accountable. Get yourself, your friends, your family, and your entire community ready to use our power in 2020 to vote for our vision of an America where everyone can thrive. Visit Vote.org to check, update, or submit your voter registration.
Show solidarity with the Latinx community
Join a local immigrants’ rights group, sign up to accompany immigrants to ICE check-ins, donate to United We Dream’s DACA renewal fund or local groups like RAICES and theTexas Civil Rights Project. And stay involved—because the attacks against immigrants are escalating, and we can’t back down. Here is a list of some organizations advocating for immigrants’ rights to consider getting involved with in your area:
Over the weekend we saw two massacres in the United States in less than 12 hours. The white supremacist killer in El Paso parroted Donald Trump’s racist language in his manifesto. These mass shootings were the second and third mass shootings in the country in less than a week, and the 250th and 251st this year, along with daily gun violence that takes the lives of more than 36,000 Americans every year.1
And yet Trump continues to shift the blame away from his own incitements of racist violence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to refuse to do his job and bring gun violence prevention bills to a vote, while Republicans in Congress refuse to stand up against racist attacks, violence against immigrants, and the epidemic of gun violence.
Enough is enough. We must spread the message that all of these callous, racist obstructionists must be voted out of office in 2020—which is why MoveOn just printed a big batch of “Disarm Hate” stickers and is giving them away for free while supplies last.
As Mitch McConnell, Martha McSally, Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, and even Trump himself hit the road to campaign for their re-elections, they must see a barrage of messages reminding them that we are their constituents and they have failed us.
Imagine Republican politicians constantly spotting “Disarm Hate” on cars, in shop windows, on bike helmets and more as they drive through their districts—a reminder that voters will hold them accountable next November.
As immigrant groups hold vigils today and constituents bring concerns about gun violence to town halls during this recess, we can all show our support for confronting attacks on immigrants, tackling gun violence, and ending white supremacy.
In Washington, D.C., Capitol Police arrested 70 Catholic nuns and clergy Thursday as they held a nonviolent sit-in protest inside the Russell Senate Office Building against the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers. More than a dozen protesters stood in a circle, holding the photographs of migrant children who have died in U.S. custody, and reciting their names. The latest protests came as immigrant communities across the U.S. have prepared for reported ICE raids that were scheduled to begin last weekend but have largely not materialized.
From the very beginning of his presidency, Donald Trump has ruthlessly targeted immigrants and refugees with cruel, racist, xenophobic policies that have torn apart families and communities.
From the Muslim Ban to the ongoing family separation crisis, Trump and his administration have done everything in their power to demonize and terrorize these communities while praising white supremacists and bigots.
MoveOn members have been on the frontlines of these fights: occupying airports to protest the Muslim Ban, organizing in droves to stop the family separation policy, and more—and now we are taking our grassroots power to the streets again.
MoveOn and our allies have erected a 8-foot-tall Statue of Liberty in the center of Washington, D.C. which bears the phrase “Immigrants Welcome Here” in several languages, and starting tomorrow we are inviting the public, immigration movement leaders and activists, and members of Congress to come out and see it, take pictures with it and share them with family and friends, and show their support for immigrants and refugees.
But we know that not everyone can make it to Washington, which is why we just printed a big batch of “Immigrants Welcome Here” stickers and are giving them away FOR FREE while supplies last.
US federal prosecutors on Thursday charged a Massachusetts judge and court officer with conspiracy and obstruction, saying they blocked an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)officer from arresting an undocumented immigrant at a 2018 court proceeding.
The charges mark the latest skirmish over immigration enforcement between US President Donald Trump‘s administration and local governments that have resisted his crackdown.
The charges target Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley Joseph, 51, and Massachusetts Trial Court Officer Wesley MacGregor, 56, who came under federal investigation last year after authorities said the duo schemed to let the man escape from the Newton court.
ICE intended to arrest the unidentified suspected undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic facing a drug charge.
They described a huddled conversation between the judge and the defendant’s lawyer in which Joseph asks, “ICE is gonna get him?” and later says, “I’m not gonna allow them to come in here”.
Joseph then arranged for the suspect to be released through the court’s rear door while the ICE agent waited in the court room’s lobby for him to emerge.
One of Trump’s top priorities in office has been cracking down on undocumented immigration and he has regularly railed against “sanctuary” cities and states that do not cooperate with all aspects of federal immigration enforcement.
Trump earlier this month floated the idea of busing undocumented migrants stopped at the border to “sanctuary cities”, a move that critics called illustrative of the White House’s callous approach to the issue and some Trump allies called impractical.